I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Hoshi ni Negai wo (星に願いを)

Aside from a 45" single and a couple of audiotapes from my brother and mother respectively, my early Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)purchases came at that Chinatown record shop Wah Yueh. And the lady certainly didn't disappoint in terms of her cover photos. For instance, one time I was in there, I was surprised to see this Iwasaki album literally staring at me with come-hither bedroom eyes.

And that is the photo you see above...the one for the album "Cinema" which was the singer's 16th album from November 1985. I have to say that the cover of the dolled-up Iwasaki photographed through a slightly fuzzy lens was perfect for the album since she did look like a star from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Well, it didn't take long before I bought the album since I couldn't take Hiromi-chan staring me the guilt trip.

When I listened to "Cinema" the first few times, I came to the realization that what became her hits on television were quite different to her album material. As I first got to know her in the 1980s, I had become accustomed to that certain style she had with ballads. So it was with this album that I found out that she took on a number of genres through the various tracks.

To be honest, I didn't expect to ever come across any of the album's songs on YouTube since the only single that came out of it was "Gekkou"(月光), and I had already covered that in a past article. So I was surprised to find this particular track from "Cinema" right at the beginning of this fine compilation of City Pop tunes in the above video. The video doesn't have any titles, singers or track times listed so for those viewers who have already encountered it, Track 1 is Hiromi Iwasaki's "Hoshi ni Negai wo" (Wish Upon A Star).

This was also the starting track on "Cinema" and initially I wasn't a fan of the song since it sounded so different from what I was accustomed when it came to the songs that I had known her for. "Hoshi ni Negai wo" was actually funky and had a rather speedy tempo although it also had those familiar strings behind Iwasaki, and of course, that lovely lilting voice.

However, knowing what I do now, I've come to appreciate it more. It straddles the line between City Pop and regular pop in sound and words with Goro Matsui(松井五郎)taking care of the former and Etsuko Yamakawa(山川恵津子)taking care of the latter. Matsui created a story of a lady hardly believing the whirlwind romance she's been experiencing with her Prince Charming and hoping that no pumpkins pop up at midnight. If the singer is living vicariously through the heroine, then she is just as joyful as she is anxious about the whole affair. Just the way that she repeats "Naturally....", she is definitely enjoying the ride.

The overall theme of "Cinema" is about the fantasy life on the movie screen, and "Hoshi ni Negai wo" starts things off appropriately with that sweeping feeling into an exciting urban Wonderland. Frankly, I'm not sure how long the above video will be up there but if you catch this article early enough, enjoy that first track and perhaps you can let me know who sings the next song since I've fallen in love with it, too.

As for "Cinema" itself, the album peaked at No. 40 on Oricon.



  1. Recently (10th Feb), Hiromi appeared on a programme with Masako Mori and another singer. Looking up the details, the other singer was Sakiko Ito, who hasn't been mentioned on this blog. She was at the same high school as Masako and Hiromi, but I think she's in the year above (born March 1958).

    She made one appearance in the Kohaku in 1976, with Kimi Kawaii ne, with Hiromi Iwasaki and Ota, Masako Mori and Candies providing backing.

    On said programme, some of the 1976 participants did a reprise.

    1. Hello there.

      I haven't seen the videos yet but would you be a fan of Sakiko Ito? If so, what would your recommendations be in terms of her songs?

  2. I'm not a fan of hers, but I saw a youku video a while ago which had Junko Sakurada, Masako Mori, Hiromi Iwasaki and this tall girl, circa 1977, and I didn't know who the other girl was. It's only with this 2017 appearance, with name, and tracing her to the 1976 clip I posted above, that I got to know her name. I discovered the 2017 clip via the usual means (searching for videos featuring 岩崎宏美).

    Incidentally, in that 2017 appearance, Masako did her party trick of doing impressions of singers from her era, with a sulky Yokosuka Story (Momoe) followed by Hajimete no Dekigoto (Junko), complete with a Sakurada-esque spoken intro. Goodness me the 1970s had a seriously talented pool of performers.

  3. I found a rare picture of Kaho Shimada, as Eponine, having her picture taken with Valjean and one of the barricade boys. The production is from 2011, the last hurrah of the Japanese special cast. The first picture on the page is Kaho and Sayaka Kanda (Cosette), who is Seiko Matsuda's daughter. The second picture is Kaho with Valjean and another lady who is in her spare role as barricade boy.

    I always wondered whether, like most Fantines, Hiromi also filled in as barricade boy. The picture answers the question.

    And returning the favour, here's Hiromi as Fantine, and Kaho (left) and Sayaka (right) as lovely ladies.

    And a rare mugshot of Goro Noguchi.

    And speaking of rare, here's Hiromi as Ophelia.

  4. Sorry, posted the wrong link above. Hiromi as Ophelia.

    1. Kinda curious but how did you first find out about Hiromi in the first place?

    2. I got into Momoe, and fell in love with Cosmos. I looked around for other versions of the song, and found that none were a patch on Momoe, bar this lady in a blue dress who did a completely different take on the song, but just as beautifully as the original. I explored related links, and found this 2009 performance of Shishuuki and was hooked. I've actually grown to become more addicted to Hiromi than Momoe.

    3. Yeah, I like both singers but if I had to choose between the two, I would go with Hiromi. And to be honest, I think Hiromi actually truly enjoys singing; I had read that Momoe only did so to support her family (although there is nothing wrong with that either).


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.